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Scholarships – The how, what, why, and when at BHSU

Author: BHSU Communications/Monday, January 27, 2020/Categories: Students, Students in the News, Academic Affairs, Alumni, Awards, College of Business and Natural Sciences, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, Community, Donations, Staff, Scholarships, 2020

The priority deadline for BHSU scholarships is Saturday, Feb. 1. Incoming and current students can apply at
Scholarships can be a big help for students pursuing higher education, offering financial relief and allowing students to focus on their degrees. At Black Hills State University, a variety of scholarships and aid are available. Here’s the low-down.

What are they?
Scholarships are financial awards that support students’ education. Unlike a loan, a student is gifted a scholarship and does pay the money back. Scholarships can be used for tuition, housing, books, and/or living expenses, based on the scholarship stipulations. Scholarships are awarded to students for a variety of reasons including academic or athletic achievement, financial need, or by academic major.

Scholarships are essentially grants, but there is usually a form or application you must complete before being considered to receive one.

How to apply?
BHSU makes the application process easy for students. Scholarship coordinator at BHSU Kanda Guthmiller shares, “We have one on-line application for all scholarships, it can be found at”

Of course there are tons of outside scholarships students can apply for as well. Most scholarships typically ask for students’ interests and involvements. It’s a great idea to keep a running list of your activities, volunteer experiences, and jobs as they can be used for applications. Another tip is to put quality time into your scholarship essays. “The scholarship committee is looking for more than a good GPA,” Guthmiller reminds. 

No two scholarships are alike. At BHSU scholarships are open year round for current and new students; the priority deadline is Feb. 1. Don’t wait to apply though! The earlier you submit your application, the more likely you are to be awarded a scholarship. If you missed the priority deadline, send your application anyway.

Tips for outside scholarships:
When looking for scholarships outside of your university, Guthmiller urges students to keep this in mind, “If you are asked to pay an application fee you are on a scam site. You never have to pay to apply for a legitimate scholarship.” Good places to start your search include,, or Kim Nida of BHSU Student Financial Services suggests setting up a separate email account to keep your scholarship search and records organized.

Why are scholarships important?
If you’re debating about putting your applications in for upcoming scholarships, read these student testimonials!

Hannah Neumiller is a junior chemistry major from Spearfish and recipient of the Nelson Scholarship for STEM majors, several local scholarships, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scholarship/internship program.

According to Neumiller, scholarships have allowed her to “focus on school and myself without worrying about taking on jobs or debt.” She advises students to aim high. Apply for the big ones, “even if you aren’t sure if you have a chance at receiving them, you may surprise yourself!”

Recent elementary education graduate from Spearfish, Lanae Spargur, says that scholarships changed her academic career in the best way possible. Spargur was the recipient of numerous scholarships including five monumental ones: The Clarkson Memorial Scholarship, The Howard and Elaine Owens Scholarship, Schuttler Family Scholarship, Bud and Josephine Jones Memorial Scholarship, and the Barry and Sylvia Jankford Scholarship. These scholarships and many others are established through generous donations to the BHSU Foundation by alumni and friends of BHSU.  

Throughout it all, “The best part about applying for scholarships was not difficult. Each year I filled out the BHSU general scholarship application and wrote two short essays. This allowed me to be placed in a pool of students for most scholarships,” Spargur shares.

How many students receive scholarships from their universities?
Every school and university varies. At BHSU, tuition is already low when compared with other colleges and universities in other states. In 2018-19, over 800 individual scholarships were awarded to nearly 600 BHSU students, totaling nearly $900,000 in aid.

***Remember, the priority deadline for BHSU scholarships is Feb. 1. Incoming and current students can apply at

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Dr. John Allred, Vice President for Enrollment at Black Hills State University, announced the appointment of two leadership positions on campus. Gail Johnson is the new Director of Student Financial Aid and Kathleen Fitzgerald-Ellis has been selected as the Director of the Student Success Center.